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Laurence Cowton

Laurence Cowton

Research Student 2013

Geophysical Monitoring of Geologic Carbon Storage

Fluid Dynamics of CO2 in Porous Media

Geophysics, Geodynamics and Tectonics

Bullard Labs.
Madingley Rise, Madingley Road

Office Phone: +44 (0) 1223 337060


2009 - 2013, MSci Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge
2013 - Now, PhD, "Monitoring Sub-Surface Storage of Carbon Dioxide", University of Cambridge

Research Interests

My current research is focused on developing monitoring and modelling techniques for geological CO2 storage reservoirs. I use seismic reflections surveys and numerical flow simulations to investigate the migration of CO2 through sub-surface reservoirs. In particular, my research is focused a time-lapse (4D) seismic reflection survey acquired over the Sleipner Carbon Capture and Storage Project, North Sea. Here, CO2 has been injected at a rate of 1 Mt CO2 per year since 1996 into the Utsira Formation at roughly 1000 m depth. By exploiting changes in sub-surface reflectivity between time-lapse seismic reflection surveys, I have developed a technique to measure the thickness of the uppermost CO2-saturated layer within the reservoir.

The overall aim of my research is to understand the key processes that control the migration of COthrough these reservoirs. This work has led to the development of a computationally efficient numerical model that can accurately simulate CO2 flow through the uppermost reservoir at Sleipner. I aim to use this simulator  in conjunction with measurements of the CO2 distribution at Sleipner to constrain key properties about the aquifer, and predict future flow within this reservoir.

I am also working on analytical and numerical models to describe the fluid dynamics of buoyant fluids spreading in aquifers of variable confinement.


Outstanding Student Poster Award (OSPA) at American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting 2015

1st Prize, 2013 Neftex Earth Model Award, "Buoyancy Driven Plumes in Porous Media: Implications for CO2 Sequestration at the Sleipner Project"

Research Supervision

Supervisors: Jerome Neufeld, Nicky White, Mike Bickle


Geophysics ; Seismology ; Computer Simulations


  • Seismology
  • Numerical Modelling

Key Publications

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